My degree paperwork has arrived, although I’m still waiting for my final grade on my diploma.
I’m doing a very good job of not starting it yet though. I have to completely finish Chinchilla Towers (watch this space) before I start my degree.
You get to choose three modules at level 4, and then specialize in two of those at levels 5 and 6. Sculpture was a no-brainer but I wanted to do printmaking and textiles as the other two. When I read the textiles modules at each level, it became apparent that I had to take both level 4 textiles modules if I wanted to take textiles again at levels 5 & 6.
I had a good think about it and I am going to take printmaking as an add-on if I decide that textiles isn’t for me and that will broaden my scope because I love printmaking:
When I did my diploma, there were so many subjects that I would have liked to have explored but I could only choose two from the list. One had to be sculpture but I chose a “sensible” option fro the second subject – graphic design – because I knew that it would come in useful for work and the theatre group.
I was taught to knit by my Grandmas when I was a tot, even before I started school, I used to love doing needlework at school and I have carried on doing knitting and embroidery over the years. Sewing itself has been a useful skill for repairs and making curtains for old houses with non-standard windows, covering sofas, making cushions and even making a skirt for a show two years ago – that was a great adventure!
More recently, I have begun my education in quilting with a fabulous teacher and have since taken on some big quilting projects to keep me quiet in the evenings but I know that there is so much more to explore with textiles. My favourite artist, Magdalena Abakanowicz, made the most magnificent, massive sculptures with textiles – old burlap sacks that she would deconstruct and then re-weave in to “Abakany” (Abakans):
I have also seen some beautiful textile art created by a fellow diploma student and my tutor.
Between my main textile influences (Grandmas, Magdalena Abakanowicz, tutor, fellow student and my quilting teacher) I am inspired to explore this fabulously versatile material.
I recently made my first Dorset button – although it is a bit clumsy:
The story behind these is really sad – they were made by hand from the 1600’s to the 1800’s and everyone in the family could make them and sell them. They were, for many families, the main source of income and when buttons began to be manufactured by machine, many families died of starvation because their livelihood disappeared.
I was a Textile Colourist for Dorma in my youth and I loved it – the designers would send a bit of a plate or something and I would have to create a dye to match the petal on a flower or whatever. I used to challenge myself and got better and better at matching by eye and in the plastics industry, was tested and it was discovered that I could see colour down to a ΔE of 0.3 and the human eye can normally only differentiate a ΔE of about 1. It was one of the best jobs that I ever had! I only left because that site went up for sale or closure and I couldn’t afford to be out of work.
So, I can already do carding, spinning and weaving; I can knit , do some basic sewing and make raggy quilts; I can colour match and dye fabric and I have begun to explore the art of making Dorset buttons.
The next textile challenges for me are to learn crochet and felt making but I will probably do those as part of my level 4 studies.
I’m a happy bunny.